v3 Upgrade Price for Less than One Year Owners

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Would Flex consider giving a discounted upgrade path to SmartSDR v3 for those users that purchased a new radio within 1 year of the v3 release. Perhaps $99 instead of the full price? Many software companies do this very thing even out for years after an initial purchase at full price.

Can Flex meet those of us at least half way on the new version price instead of charging us full price for a product less than a year old? This would go a long way in providing assurance that Flex has our (it's customers) concerns in mind when making business choices like this.

Thank you.

Scott N1SER
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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  • Hopeful?

Posted 5 months ago

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KF4HR

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It amazes me people are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a Flex transceiver, then turn around and penny-pinch the $199 optional software upgrades.  Would ICOM, Kenwood, or Yaesu reduce the cost of their, let's say... external speaker by 50%, if you bought one of their rigs? 

It's a safe bet that many, many hours go into these software revisions.  The beauty of these software upgrades is, you can support the upgrade effort or bypass it and continue to use your current version, the choice is yours.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Bill, I'm asking only because I don't know, not arguing. How do you know the $200 only covers some of the development cost? That sucks that it will cost you over $300.
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HCampbell WB4IVF

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“How do you know the $200 only covers some of the development cost?”

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/my-recent-thread

From Gerald:

“Charging $199 for Version 2 will not fund our software development for any material length of time even if we were to be able to sell software for one of our competitors radios as well.  We must remain competitive selling new radios to fund ongoing software development.  

We want a mutually beneficial model.  Those are the only ones that work.  A subscription fee model would definitely speed software development - guaranteed.  You can scale the development expense proportionately with the revenue stream.

How many people would get upset if we used that model instead of the major upgrade model?  

I have much more to say but this is getting too long to read.  Let me end with this:

In the new world of true SDR, it is in your own self interest that FlexRadio sell the most radios we can, gain market share, and be able to generate revenue from software so that we can deliver more software.  

Free software forever without new competitive radios to sell is a going out of business strategy.  

Innovate or die.  Where are Collins, Heathkit and Hallicrafters today?  Some are more recent examples I won't mention.

SmartSDR is the radio.  That means as we release new versions of SmartSDR, the FLEX-6300 and FLEX-6500 will get new features and are thus not obsolete.  That's a better deal than any last year's model car I ever owned.” 






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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Thanks HCampbell, see this is the kind of reply that is helpful. I've never seen or read this before so it answers many questions. I wish the people who have been in this community for a long time would give us "newbies" a bit of a break if we ask questions that have been discussed in the past. We may not realize the history and reason for stuff like this.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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 Scott, Sorry I missed your question, I'm glad HCampbell looked this up as I ran out of time.

Any comments I make on this community are not usually my opinions but well researched answers from past Flex comments.

This is the reason I said that the upgrade cost does not cover the cost of software dev...I was aware of this reply from Gerald.

This is why I mentioned several of Geralds comments as a referance.

As I see it , there are really never bad questions, keep them comming.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Hey it's all cool Bill. I'll try and do a better job of searching for the same topics before posting a new one.  Sometimes it's time consuming and hard to find replies on this type of community board. Replies get nested here and there and makes it hard to keep up with the replies and follow the thread.

I agree... the only bad or dumb question is the one not asked.
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Kevin

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How dare you expect poor, struggling FRS to give you something at a discount. They've worked so hard to make this perfect for you. Bugs, fragmented code base and all.

You should be sending THEM money to show your appreciate for the heroism and dedication they have shown to you, the hobby and society in general! When they ask for $199 or stay behind you should be asking, can't I send more?

Why haven't you set up a GoFundMe account and asked all your friends and family to contribute? I can't believe it. It's only $199!!! We all have $199 falling out of our pockets in these days of Trump. 10% of your paycheck should go to FRS. Direct deposit thank you. FRS should be listed in the Combined Federal Campaign as a charity.



You're not going to get much support from your fellow FlexRadio community members. You'll be shamed for asking and told you can take it or leave it. I say keep asking. Because regardless of what the people on here who fly to Paris to buy shoes or have luxury boats and planes and antenna farms that would make a government listening post look like a QRP field day effort it is none of us here that can make the decision for FRS. All we can do is either support you or go against and shame you for trying to save a few dollars even though it doesn't affect us because, apparently, $199 is somehow equivalent to pennies. This is a sad community. Very sad.

Did that sound like a rant? If not, I'll try again.

directed 73,
Kev K4VD


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Bill -VA3WTB

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So much anger here, Flex does not comment here in the comunity much any more if you have not noticed. Tim has been re asigned, and Mike fills in when time permits. Flex emplyees read the forum from time to time.

The question is a policy one, not a bad question and should be asked. But sending the question to Flex is the best thing to do.
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Kevin

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Uh huh.

No anger here. Disappointment and dismay. And not with FRS.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Thank you Kevin for your sarcastic sense of humor. It's sad that it's the truth. A year ago I was all about Flex Radio and couldn't wait to get my order. I spent hours at the Orlando Hamcation last year talking to the Flex guys and drooling over the Maestro and new radios. It's such a shame that in less than a year I'm feeling like the sucker and ostracized by this community for asking or should I say proposing a simple question. Like you said below why not either agree and say so or just leave it... I can say the same thing I hear "fellow" flexers say to those that oppose or question the cost of software upgrades... if you don't like the question or comment, then don't read it, just like "if you don't want to pay to upgrade then don't". It's a shame the minority rule over the majority on this community forum. I'm willing to be those making the most comments and always have something to say are not representative of the whole of this community. Sad, truly sad.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Thanks Bill for the thought out reply. I didn't know about Tim and did not realize Flex not commenting here much. My plan is to contact Flex about my idea... will probably not go anywhere but it's worth trying. In light of all the "free" upgrade talk in other threads I thought I'd propose a different idea and see what my fellow Flex community thought. That's all.
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Scott,

First, don't let discussions like this throw you off track!

In my experience as a ham, since 1970ish, hams are super cheap.  The moment that money comes up for anything everyone in the room has a opinion, just like something else we all have.

And, forums are great places for people to post whatever crap they want because it sort of isn't real.  I mean most of the stuff people post that is negative on a forum they would not say to a person face-to-face.  It is just too damned easy to hide behind our keyboards and screens and spew out crap that can be hurtful.

So, please, don't let this forum dull you on FRS or the radio.
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Mike, W8BE

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What is sad is coming to the forum to ask Flex for discounts or complaining about software costs when no one here can do anything about it.   Why not take your requests directly to Flex and let the forum do what it is intended for,  helping folks with operational issues.  
(Edited)
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Mike, W8BE

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Flex is very much aware of how some of you feel about the costs of the upgrade.  They don't need me to tell them.   Coming to this forum about this issue is unhelpful.  Send Flex and email and tell them how you feel. 

As Bill stated the forum is the wrong place for this.   Go DIRECTLY to them if you feel so strongly about it.  

 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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As I said, all these questions are fare, but if looking for a response from Flex this may not be the best place when asking something on policy matters.

This only comes up from the same guys all the times, by far most customers understand why Flex does things the way they do not have problems with paying for a new version.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Thank you again Kevin.
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Mike, W8BE

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Scott,

You do have a valid question.  The problem is that I or anyone else here can't answer your question.   If you really want an answer please contact Flex directly.  Maybe you can negotiate something with them.  
(Edited)
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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I understand Mike. I thought it was something to get a feel for how others thought about the price issues that's been floating around as an alternative and compromise. I just don't know where the attitudes come from within this community. We should all be working together to either help each other with issues and questions and to confront Flex if it's needed. As a group we can do more than just individuals. Flex may be the the owner of the technology but we are the ones with the $$. Flex wouldn't be in the ham radio business if it wasn't for it's customers. I guess that's my point, everyone stop bickering and let's make Flex work for us, not the other way around.
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Robert Lonn

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Version 3.0 secret revealed!!!  I was on 20 meters this last weekend and got a call from Craig, K9CT!! He was running version 3.0 Beta... I convinced him that we were on 20 meters, both running a kilowatt, and if he shared with me what features 3.0 had, it would be our secret!! I guess he was fooled and did not know I can not keep a secret, so here it goes on what he shared with me about 3.0!!!! 
  • The software will be called, Version 3.01
  • It will run on the radio if you download it from the Flex site.
  • It will run on a windows 10 based computer after it has been downloaded from Flex..
  • If you enter promo code, " I Love Flex" the software will be free.
  • However for free it will only allow the radio to operate on 27 MHz, channel 1-40 SSB..
  • It will start your coffee pot in the morning.
  • Auto set your toaster to make the waffles. 
  • Turn on the heat in the shack if needed..
  • And if equipped, remote start your car to warm it up on a cold morning.
I want to thank Craig for sharing this important updated information with me, and Wish Him the best with his contest participation!!

73's  Robert
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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This SILLY ARGUMENT has been raging here since about 2012 when Flex first announced their annual software fee. Flex quickly changed to a $200 version upgrade fee but the howls have not diminished

Let’s face it HAMS ARE CHEAP and most hams do not understand that these days the product cost in not the hardware but rather it’s the software that is expensive to build. Part of the reason is you can touch hardware but only see software work

So I expect at this SILLY ARGUMENT will continue to rage here for years to come and everyone on both sides will be outraged that the other side does not get their point.
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Matt NQ6N

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I understand that for some people $200 every few years is a very high price.  The amateur market for Flex transceivers is quite small, so Flex charging $200 for a major release is extremely aggressive pricing compared to a much larger company charging $50 for a major version on a mass market product. 

The important thing to consider is the market size, not the dollar amount.  If Flex doubled its market share the prices would likely come down a bit. 

There are a lot of startup companies that get major funding and give products away for a short time before going out of business.  This has helped set the expectation for many people that high quality software should be free. 

There are also some open source projects that offer free software. Flex has opted to keep its secret sauce software closed source for competitive reasons.  I don't know the details but I suspect that decision is rational. 

Flex has gone beyond offering an SDR platform with the 6000 series and included multiple SCUs so that much of the "glue" technology (SO2R switching, remote access, etc.) can be done in software without requiring additional hardware. 

This has saved me over $1000 in my station compared to if I'd kept my dual K3 setup and invested in remote rig boxes, remote-controlled RX antenna switches, etc.  So since Flex has put me ahead by over $1K, paying $200 for additional upgrades still seems like I came out ahead, and will still be ahead even with a few more $200 upgrades.

In my opinion, Flex is still at the beginning stages of making the most of the 6000 series hardware capability.  This is significant because the software/hardware combo is being used by top stations successfully for contesting, rag chewing, DXing, etc., yet it is still a very young platform with a great deal of additional potential. ALL of that potential will be unlocked by additional software development effort. 

The most significant aspect of hardware architecture in the 6600 and 6700 is the ability to use one transceiver for Multi 1 or SO2R operation. Without that feature, the top price point for a Flex would be the 6400. So it makes sense that Flex has invested heavily in MultiFlex to unlock additional capabilities of the flagship hardware.

Since I've been a Flex owner, I've seen lots of improvements in SO2R switching and remote operation, two of the other biggest advantages the hardware offers. 

I would expect future improvements to further enhance the strengths of the hardware.  This increases the value of the Flex hardware that we all own.  So even if one particular upgrade doesn't seem worth $200, since the hardware is made more powerful by it, its existence increases the value of all of our rigs whether we use the feature or not. 

73,
Matt NQ6N



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Val DM1TX

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I do not have yet a Flex Radio but planning to get it soon.
I have been a Kenwood, a Yaesu and and still an Elecraft owner.
I am nevertheless following all topics of interest here.
I love the spirit of this enthusiastic Community!
I am still amazed that this discussion still pops-up now and then.
Here in Germany these radios are more expensive than in U.S.
Because we love their quality/support we are willing to pay the price.
And the way I see it, Flex is a SOFTWARE company.
The Software is the Radio as they say.
As someone here was so well put it, when I am willing to pay thousands (of Euros) for the  radio,
another 199 would make no difference if I really need the new features.
And somehow I feel that 199 Euros is a small fee to pay for the hard work of the Flexradio developers. I think that this fee will help Flex get on top fast.
73 from Bavaria
Val   DM1TX



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Roger, W6VZV

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FWIW I think what Flex is doing with upgrades is just fine.  Free upgrades until a major upgrade.  Works for me.  C'mon guys, it's a restaurant bill.  I'll bet all of you spend more dough on Starbucks or beer.  (or both).

de Roger W6VZV